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[Comments] (1) : Near the end of Moby-Dick Ahab's piling on the hubris because not only is he about to clobber the white whale but his weird preternatural advisor has practically assured him victory! For Ahab to fail, according to this guy's estimates, an elaborate set of conditions would have to be met: he, the advisor, would have to die first, and then Ahab would have to see him again somehow, and then encounter not one but two separate hearses (Hearses? On the ocean?) and come on, it's all just so far-fetched, how could that stuff possibly happen? And then of course it does and Ahab screws everything up. Same with prophecies in fiction since Oedipus Rex.

So you trust a guy to tell you the future, and then he starts telling you that your stupid plan can only fail if all this unlikely stuff happens. He's probably just trying to tell you that it's going to happen, but using terms that make it sound so ridiculous that you don't violate the timeline by actually acting to stop it. But it's gonna happen. It's the equivalent of the man who bets you that "he can make the Jack of Spades jump out of the deck and squirt cider in your ear". Don't take that bet.

PS: I guess I started thinking about this after the previous entry, where I described my writing as messages to my previous self except the messages can't actually go back in time.

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Posted by Rachel at Wed Mar 02 2005 22:40

Macbeth!


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